A three-dimensional numerical hydrodynamic model for Long Island
Sound is applied to examine the spatial structure of the tidal and
residual circulation in the basin. Momentum diagnostics are used to
analyze the dynamics controlling the longitudinal and lateral
circulation. At tidal periods, the longitudinal momentum balance
involves local acceleration, barotropic pressure gradient, and
stress divergence; the lateral momentum balance involves local
acceleration, barotropic pressure gradient, and Coriolis
acceleration, with some contribution from the baroclinic pressure
gradient at depth. Tidal period lateral circulation is driven
primarily by the imbalance between barotropic pressure gradient and
Coriolis acceleration. The residual longitudinal momentum balance
involves primarily longitudinal advection and the total
longitudinal pressure gradient. Results indicated that residual
longitudinal advection arises from the interaction of tidal period
lateral motion and lateral gradients in longitudinal tidal
currents. They indicate further that residual longitudinal
advection and longitudinal baroclinic pressure gradient represent
driving forces of the same order throughout much of the basin. The
residual lateral momentum balance is essentially geostrophic.
Results are consistent with recent theoretical models for tidal and
residual circulation in elongated rotating basins. Features of the
simulated tidal period and residual current structure compare
favorably with those features derived from available ADCP current
observations in the central Long Island Sound.
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